Barristers / Woodhouse Davie

Sara Woodhouse Davie

Call Year: 2007
Qualifications: St Andrews University - Pure Science BSc (2002), University of Glasgow - Human Geography BSc (Hons) (2004), College of Law - Graduate Diploma in Law WITH DISTINCTION (2006), College of Law - Bar Vocational Course / LLB (2007), Diplock Scholarship - Middle Temple Major BVC Award (2007), Lloyd Jacob Memorial Award (2007)
Areas of Practice: Criminal Defence, Gang Related Violence Injunctions
Tel: 0161 817 6377

" Knowledgeable in both the facts and the law, her preparation is second to none"

Instructing Solicitor 

"She is thorough and passionate regardless of the size or the complexity of the case and works hard for each and every client" 

Instructing Solicitor

"Clearly articulate and intelligent. However the quality that sets her apart is her dedication to her lay clients and her determination to ensure they receive the best possible legal representation" 

Instructing Solicitor 

"An impressive trial advocate, who has the ability to persuade her audience" 

Instructing Solicitor 


Criminal Defence

Sara has a genuine passion and commitment to her clients. She is well regarded by Solicitors and Defendants alike and her meticulous approach to preparation has earned her a good reputation in court. Although Sara is warm and approachable in nature, she is well known to vigorously fight for her clients.

Sara has been involved in a number of lengthy trials and has experience dealing with particularly voluminous evidence in an effective and organised manner. She has established a busy Crown Court practice, has acted for clients in the Court of Appeal and has also been led in more serious and complex matters. She has experience defending the full spectrum of criminal offences, including: serious violence and offences against the person; violent disorder and affray; kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail; firearm offences and possession of offensive weapons; arson; robbery, burglary and theft; a wide variety of fraud and dishonesty offences; sexual offences (and Sexual Offences Prevention Orders etc); child cruelty; drug trafficking; confiscation proceedings; immigration act offences; possession of false identity documents and motoring offences such as dangerous driving etc

Sara has experience defending care home professionals who have been charged with offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. She also has a particular interest in terrorist offences and charges brought under the 2000 and 2006 Terrorism Act.

Sara recently assisted in the case of R v Domenyk Lattlay-Fottfoy (formerly Noonan) who was cleared of 6 charges concerning the false imprisonment and rape of a 15 year old boy. Consequently, Sara has gained a valuable insight into the often difficult and complex relationship between the Criminal and Family law Jurisdictions, especially in relation to the disclosure of sensitive material which is the property of the family court.  Click here  for press coverage. 

Gang Related Violence Injunctions

Sara also has experience of defending gang injunctions (“Gangbo’s”) in the civil courts brought under the Policing and Crime Act 2009. She was instructed in the first case to be brought by Salford City Council and is currently involved in a matter which has been transferred to the High Court to determine whether Sections 34 and 35 of the Act are incompatible with Articles 6, 8, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

Recent cases:

  • R v S : The defendant was charged with the historic rape of his half sister when she was between 6 to 8 years old. The matter was listed for trial but did not proceed due to ongoing disclosure concerns. In light of material received, the Crown accepted a plea to indecent assault on the basis of digital penetration. The defendant received a suspended sentence. The stringent SOPO proposed by the Crown was successfully opposed in its entirety.
  • R v FH  – Following the decision in R (on the Application of Christopher Prothero), a guilty plea was entered to failing to notify the police of various bank account details, contrary to section 91 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  A limited basis of plea was entered on the particular facts of the case and the Defendant was sentenced to a 2 year Conditional Discharge. At an earlier hearing, and in light of various legal arguments advanced by the Defence, the Crown offered no evidence in relation to an alleged breach of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
  • R v B –   The Defendant was charged as part of a large scale Class A drugs conspiracy – involving the transportation of drugs from Liverpool for supply in Plymouth. An early guilty plea was entered following careful analysis of the Crown’s evidence (predominately based upon telephone contact between the numerous co-conspirators, cell site evidence and ANPR data). A favourable basis of plea was entered and mitigation advanced which included the Article 8 rights of the defendant’s young teenage daughter. Click  here,   here  and  here  for press coverage. 
  • R v N  – The Defendant was found not guilty after trial on 4 counts of ill-treating late stage dementia residents at the elderly care home where she worked.  Click here  for news item and here  for press coverage.
  • R v H –   Defended the imposition of a Gang Related Violence Injunction and various alleged breaches of the interim order.  Click here  for press coverage.  
  • R v C  – Football Violence. Following a favourable plea bargain, Counsel successfully opposed the imposition of a Football Banning Order.
  • R v B  – Possession of a Firearm with Intent to Cause Fear of Violence. Issues of identification were raised. The Defendant was acquitted following a 4 week contested trial.
  • R v T  – A successful application to dismiss was advanced in relation to a charge of GBH with intent. The Defendant was found not guilty of the remaining allegation of ABH.
  • R v B  – A defendant with learning difficulties was found not guilty of a dwelling house arson.
  • R v P  – A month long trial involving charges of conspiracy to steal, robbery and handling stolen goods. Cell Site Evidence was at the heart of the Crown’s case and experts were instructed and cross examined.
  • R v D  – Child Cruelty – A mother was accused of neglecting her 8 year old daughter. The defence obtained material from the corresponding family / care proceedings and following representations, the Crown offered no evidence.
  • R v D  – Section 18 unprovoked stabbing of a stranger. Despite this being the third conviction of a similar nature, Counsel successfully opposed the imposition of an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP).
  • R v M  – S18 Wounding With Intent - Acquitted
  • R v J  – Youth jointly charged with attempted robbery. Following successful legal argument, the Crown offered no evidence.
  • R v S  – Despite unfavourable CCTV footage, successfully defended a taxi driver who faced a charge of unlawful wounding.
  • R v G  – Multi handed supply of cannabis, theft of a large quantity of money, kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail. A successful cross examination of the complainant led to a very favourable basis of plea being accepted.
  • R v I  – Representing one of eight young defendants charged with Violent Disorder / Affray and Criminal Damage. Client acquitted after a 4 week trial in the face of unfavourable evidence and despite four co-accused being convicted.  
  • R v D  – Multi-million pound benefit fraud case. The allegations involved a large number of Romanian suspects and a highly organised conspiracy operating over a number of years. The case was the first of a number of similar prosecutions.
  • R v N   (Central Criminal Court)  – ABH and False Imprisonment. The Defendant maintained that the allegations had been maliciously fabricated. As a result of cross examination and material disclosed during the trial, the complainant was arrested for two fraud offences relating to the case. The case against the Defendant was dismissed.
  • R v W  – Junior Counsel (led) in a two month multi handed trial involving counts of conspiracy to do acts which facilitated the breach of immigration law; conspiracy to sell goods which infringed copyright and trademark; converting criminal property and mortgage fraud.
  • R v T  - Vietnamese client acquitted for possession of nearly 100 kilograms of cannabis with an intention to supply it to others

Articles and media comment

>  Summary of the main provisions of Part 3 (Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders) of LASPO 2012

>  24/4/12 - Hearsay rules clarified but further guidance is needed (Lexis Nexis Current Awareness)

Sara also delivers training seminars on a range of criminal law topics, including bad character, hearsay, defence statements and disclosure etc.


Sara previously practised in chambers in London, however relocated to Manchester to be near her family. Before coming to the Bar, Sara worked for the Glasgow Homelessness Network. She held the only specific equalities role and remit within the organisation and worked closely with a number of individuals and families who had experienced varying forms of exclusion and discrimination. In particular she gained experience of vulnerable groups including women working in prostitution and women fleeing domestic abuse; dispersed asylum seekers and those with mental health illnesses and / or physical disabilities.

Before practising at the Criminal Bar, Sara also worked as a Freelance Advocate (Legal Practice Clerk) undertaking a wide variety of County Court hearings.

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Sara Woodhouse Davie

Name: Sara Woodhouse Davie
Call Year: 2007

  What's New?  

GCN barristers present PLP "How to JR"

Matt Stanbury presents "JR for criminal practitioners" Sheffield Law Soc

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5/1/16 Important statelessness JR (Semeda)

5/1/16 GCN members elected to BHRC Exec Committee

GCN Criminal Law Update December 2015

18/12/15 GCN remains totally committed to first class representation through legal aid

17/12/15 Permission granted in trafficking JR

16/12/15 Natalie Wilkins reports on GCN Family Rights seminar series in  Family Law

15/12/15 Gary Willock on caselaw re delay in obtaining Legal Aid and court deadlines

12/12/15 Appeal of decision that Extension of Workers Registration Scheme 2009 was unlawful now listed for Feb 2017

11/12/15 Court of Appeal quashes extended sentence and finding of dangerousness

1/12/14 Zimran Samuel speaks about FGM at Family Law Conference 2015

23/11/15 Sentence reduced (serious health problems and delays in proceedings)

12/11/15 GCN Housing Bulletin: serious disrepair and injunctions

3/11/15 Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks GCN in Band 1 for "Administrative and Public Law" and "Civil Liberties and Human Rights"

Tom Royston speaking at CPAG Genuine Prospects of Work seminar on 30.11.15

30/10/15 Transgender prisoners - Matt Stanbury on how the MoJ is disregarding its own policy

26/10/15 Successful out of time appeal in unlawful extended sentence

Anti-Slavery Day event: Current issues affecting victims of Trafficking 22.10.15

21/10/15 Vijay Jagadesham on proposed Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Jamaica

30/9/15 Acquittal in Operation Pallial (North Wales Enquiry) historic allegations case

28/9/15 Immigration FTT recognizes appellant as Victim of Trafficking (VOT)

24/9/15 Immigration FTT relies on Trafficking JR and grants asylum to VOT

17/9/15 Legal 500 recommends 2015; Counsel "easy to work with and quickly engage"; Clerks "consistently very helpful"

11/9/15 Zimran Samuel obtains FGM Protection Order to safeguard 13 year old taken to Sudan

9/9/15 Ben McCormack Court of Protection talk for YLAL North

24/8/15 "Bedroom tax" appeal dates set (Rutherford)

19/8/15 Mark George QC responds to HHJ Clayson Practice Note

Mark George QC Amicus US Death Penalty Training in Oct 2015

24//7/15 GCN crime team on direct action

22/7/15 Zimran Samuel obtains second ever FGM Protection Order  

21/7/15 Baby boy's injuries caused by bone disorder not violence  

14/7/15 GCN crime team support Rally to Save Criminal Legal Aid

30/6/15 GCN crime team "It's time we took action"

12/6/15 Mark George QC on IPCC Orgreave report

10/6/15 Kate Stone to chair PLP "Private Law for Public Law Practitioners" on 24.6.15

8/6/15 Nealon and Hallam: miscarriage of justice compensation claims dismissed

4/6/15 Is Canal and River Trust entitled to have same approach applied to Art 8 defences as landlords of social housing?  

Tom Royston speaking at CPAG seminar "Localisation of Social Security" on 8.6.15

Lucy Mair speaking at "Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law" 7.7.15 (Lancaster)

28/5/15 Lucy Mair discusses Eve Ensler's "Avocado" human trafficking monologue

27/5/15 GCN supports action by Northern Ireland Bar

27/5/15 Lucy Mair on trafficking JR (Free Movement)

13/5/15 Abuse of process argument succeeds in prosecution under common law where statutory offence would also apply

Haldane "Child Sex Abuse Inquiry" Lecture panel feat. Pete Weatherby QC 21.5.15

Pete Weatherby QC speaking at Prisoners' Advice Service annual panel discussion 19.5.15

20/4/15 Matt Stanbury on Bad News for Good Character

20/3/15 Sex Offender Notification Reviews Guidance

4/3/15 Joe Markus appointed to Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel

26/2/15 S222 injunction to restrain begging in Leeds City Centre discharged by High Court

23/2/15 Prisoner adjudication decision quashed

16/2/15 Extension of Workers Registration Scheme was unlawful; EU workers

13/2/15 Rory O'Ryan appointed as Deputy Upper Tribunal Judge

5/2/15 Zimran Samuel contributes to "Now That You Know Say NO To FGM" short film

27/1/15 Permission granted in homelessness affordability appeal

19/1/15 Victor Nealon - refusal of compensation for miscarriage of justice

13/1/15 Kate Stone on Human Rights and Arms Trade Treaty

5/1/15 GCN move to Blackfriars House profiled in M.E.N

15/12/14 Gudanaviciene (exceptional funding)   

10/12/14 Pete Weatherby QC and Vijay Jagadesham in Landmark Supreme Court decision on ISP Prisoners

5/12/14 UT decision on Bereavement Benefits and telephone marriage

24/11/14 Natalie Wilkins "New immigration tribunal procedure rules" (Free Movement blog)

13/11/14 Permission to appeal granted in benefits case

12/11/14 Joseph Markus and Natalie Wilkins join chambers

11/11/14 Successful exceptional funding application

3/11/14 Chambers UK 2015 recommends GCN in Band 1   

28/10/14 Inquest finds failures in prison mental health services

10/10/14 Pete Weatherby QC wins Legal 500 Regional Silk Award 2014

9/10/14 Zimran Samuel wins Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year 2014

3/10/14 Clerks  "first class " in Legal 500 2014

26/9/14 Legal Aid, Labour and a 'manifesto for hope'


Forthcoming events


Friday 6th May 2016 >> CLFS Crime Conference Spring 2016